11 States Pull National Guard Off Border Missions To Protest Child Separations

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A Texas Guardsmen and a Customs and Border Patrol agent discuss the lay of the land April 10 on the shores of the Rio Grande River in Starr County, Texas as part of the federal call-up to the Texas Mexico border. Soldiers called to duty at the border support federal partners and primarily serve in observe-and-report roles.
US Army

Eleven US states have cancelled agreements to send members of the National Guard to the US-Mexico border as part of a growing backlash over the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant families trying to enter the US.


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Initially three states — New York, Massachusetts, and Colorado — pulled their forces from current or planned deployments at the border, but they were soon joined by many more.

Related: I Stand For The Flag, But The Flag Doesn't Stand For This »

Most are states which elected a Democrat governor. Two — Massachusetts and Maryland — have Republicans in charge.

Here's the full list, and whether the state governor is a Democrat or a Republican:

  • Colorado (D)
  • Connecticut (D)
  • Delaware (D)
  • Maryland (R)
  • Massachusetts (R)
  • New Jersey (D)
  • New York (D)
  • North Carolina (D)
  • Pennsylvania (D)
  • Rhode Island (D)
  • Virginia (D)

Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia had already sent resources south, and are now withdrawing them. The others had planned to cooperate, but no longer will.

Resistance to the Trump policy has increased in recent days, fueled in part by photographs and audio of detention centers making it into the public domain.

US Army/Sgt. Mark Otte

Scroll down to see how each state has responded to outrage over the policy.

Colorado (Democrat)

In an executive order on Monday, John Hickenlooper, Democratic governor for Colorado, barred state resources from being used to separate immigrant families.

It said: "I issue this Executive Order to forbid any state agency from using any state resources for the purpose of separating any child from his or her parent or legal guardian on the sole ground that such parent or legal guardian is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws."

He also called on the Trump administration to reverse the practice of family separation.

Connecticut (Democrat)

Governor Dannel Malloy, Democratic governor Connecticut, condemned the "inhumane practice."

"This vile practice must end," Gov. Molloy said.

Delaware (Democrat)

Governor John Carney, said he had refused a request to send troops on Tuesday.

He said: "Under normal circumstances, we wouldn't hesitate to answer the call. But given what we know about the policies currently in effect at the border, I can't in good conscience send Delawareans to help with that mission."

Carney said that if Trump changes the zero tolerance policy, then Delaware would help once more.

Maryland (Republican)

Governor Larry Hogan recalled a National Guard helicopter and four service members.

"Until this policy of separating children from their families has been rescinded, Maryland will not deploy any National Guard resources to the border," he wrote on Twitter.

Massachusetts (Republican)

Charlie Baker, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, called the administration's policy "cruel and inhumane," becoming the latest in a string of Republican figures to criticise the president.

He said Monday that "we told the National Guard to hold steady and to not go down to the border — period,"according to NBC 10 Boston. "We won't be supporting that initiative unless they change the policy."

Gov. Baker had made the decision to deploy troops earlier this month, following a proclamation signed by Trump in April that ordered National Guard troops to help protect the US-Mexico border.

New Jersey (Democrat)

"Ever since our founding - and even before - our nation has been a beacon for families seeking freedom and yearning for a better life," Phil Murphy, Democratic governor for New Jersey, said on Tuesday.

He signed an executive order prohibiting the use of state resources to police the border. He also said: "President Trump has turned this promise on its head by doubling down on his inhumane and cruel policy of separating families."

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New York (Democrat)

Andrew Cuomo, Democratic governor for New York, said: "In the face of this ongoing tragedy, let me be very clear: New York will not be party to this inhumane treatment of immigrant families.

"We will not deploy National Guard to the border, and we will not be complicit in a political agenda that governs by fear and division."

Cuomo called on the Acting Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security to investigate "illegal and discriminatory" tactics by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and "to tell us what his office is doing about the assault on immigrant families along our border."

North Carolina (Democrat)

North Carolina will withdraw three National Guard members from the border, Democratic governor Roy Cooper said on Tuesday.

Gov. Cooper condemned Trump's policy as "cruel."

Pennsylvania (Democrat)

Tom Wolf, Democratic governor for Pennsylvania, tweeted on Tuesday that he opposed state resources being used as part of the family separation policy.

"While PA proudly sent troops to TX, FL and Puerto Rico for disaster relief and I believe we need to protect our borders from real threats, I oppose state resources being used to further Pres. Trump's policy of separating young children from their parents," Gov. Wolf wrote.

Rhode Island (Democrat)

In a statement on Tuesday, Gina Raimondo, Democratic governor for Rhode Island, said the state will not send National Guard resources to the border if asked to do so by the administration.

"The Trump Administration's family separation policy is immoral, unjust and un-American," Gov. Raimondo said in a statement. "I have not yet been asked, but if I am, I will not deploy units from the Rhode Island National Guard to the southern border to support the Administration's policy that is ripping families apart."

Virginia (Democrat)

The governor of Virginia said on Tuesday that he will withdraw one helicopter and four soldiers from the border.

Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said: "When Virginia deployed these resources to the border, we expected we would play a role in preventing criminals, drug runners and other threats to our security from crossing into the United States - not supporting a policy of arresting families and separating children from their parents."

Gov. Northam called on the Trump administration to change its "zero-tolerance" policy and "come to the table on the real immigration reform this nation needs."

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